Blindness is no barrier for Simon Wheatcroft. With technology and willpower as his only guides, Simon achieved the impossible when he learned to run road races and complete ultra-marathons without his sight. He now helps others to overcome adversity—working with companies to improve product accessibility and application, as well as demonstrating the power of determination as a motivational speaker.
What would you do if you lost your sight at the age of 17?
For motivational speaker Simon Wheatcroft, it meant adapting available technology to achieve the impossible.
Born with a genetic eye disorder (Retinitis Pigmentosa) resulted in Simon becoming blind at age 17. After a number of difficult years adapting, he headed to California with the intention of climbing a mountain and proposing to his girlfriend. Having never climbed or hiked up a mountain before, Simon’s view was how hard can it be?
While he managed to propose to his girlfriend (halfway up the mountain) the summit remained elusive as it was too dangerous for him to continue to the top. For the first time in his life Simon quit because he couldn’t see. Returning to the UK he vowed never to quit again because he was unable to see. Now all he needed was a new challenge. Making use of technology, he began a remarkable journey of learning to run outdoors totally unaided aside from the Smartphone app RunKeeper and his remaining senses as a guide.
Partnering with leading technology firms and using social media to find running partners, Simon has gone on to run marathons and ultra marathons. Leveraging his experience of working with leading technology firms (IBM, MIT and Google), Simon is creating the next generation of technology that will continue to enable himself and others to achieve what many bystanders would consider unattainable. Much of this technology will be put to the test as he seeks to test the boundaries of what is humanly possible as the first ever blind person to run solo the 4 Deserts Marathon in Namibia in May 2016.
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What people said about Simon Wheatcroft
- "Very good, great slides excellent speaker."
- - UK Active
- "Very engaging speaker, inspiration story and also kept it relevant to our event and audience."
- - Assurant Solutions